Alongside Twitter, Facebook is the most popular social networking platform of our time. The site was first launched ten years ago in February 2004 and as of April 2014, it has more than 1.28 billion active users worldwide.
With so many people and businesses using Facebook, how do you make sure your audience is engaged? This is especially important if you're a business.
Recently, Facebook changed the rules so posts from a business page no longer organically appear in a Liker's feed. Even if a person likes a business' page, they're unlikely to naturally see that page's content in their news feed - unless the business page pays to promote their posts. According to this article entitled "The Free-Marketing Gravy Train Is Over on Facebook", a recent Ogilvy & Mather study found that "..companies' posts dropped from reaching 12% of their followers in October to just 6% by February."
Facebook says a solution for businesses and brands with declining engagement is to buy ads or pay for their posts to be shown to their community.
Another way to ensure your community engages with your page is to make sure your content has a life beyond the business page. When a user likes or comments on your content, it appears in their activity feed. This means their friends will see what that they liked or commented on, extending its reach organically.
Here are 7 simple engagement strategies for Facebook:
- Use photos. According to this article via Social Bakers, photos make up 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook. That is a huge percentage. With most of us short on time and experiencing near information overload, sometimes a picture can say a thousand words. Strong visual content will engage your community every time.
- Keep your posts short. A lot of research has gone into the length and structure of posts. The results consistently show that, the longer a post is, the less engagement it gets. Around 100 characters is a good length to ensure your users are engaged.
- Create a two-way dialogue. Ask questions. Based on the content of your post, ask your community what they think. When a Liker writes on your wall, respond, provide feedback and thank them. This sends a message to other page members that interaction is valued and encouraged.
- Be a resource. When you come across helpful or insightful content related your campaign or industry, go ahead and post it to your Facebook page because it's likely your fans would also find it to be of interest. Pass on or "share" noteworthy links or articles. This also encourages people to share your content.
- Timing. Play around with what time of day you post and test what results in better interaction. Is it best to post during the day? Early morning? Late night? All this depends on the demo- and techno- graphics of your audience. You can check out the free insights on your Page to figure out when your audience is online.
- Mix it up. Don't be afraid to post content that's not directly related to your industry or message as long as it is on-brand.
- Be human. Remember, not everyone wants politics or case studies all the time. Depending on your business page's purpose, use relevant current events and language to put a human voice behind your Facebook posts.
Hopefully these ideas will help business page owners avoid having to pay Facebook for advertising or promoted posts by organically engaging with their audiences.
Image credit: Ksayer1 via Flickr Creative Commons